emptywhale - "Some Hollow Lullabies (waag_rel025)"
I have a black-and-blue mark on my arm … its been there for a long while and won't be disappearing any time soon. Its there as a result of my need to pinch myself each and every time I listen to the music on weareallghosts.
I need to pinch myself to ensure I am not dreaming … that this wee netlabel isn't in fact some ridiculous fantasy of the calibre of an episode of Dallas. The music I have had the privilege to release is truly exceptional and some of my favourite music from the last year and a bit. I don't say this enough but I am so honoured that folks have chosen waag to release their content … it is nothing without their contribution.
Take "Some Hollow Lullabies (waag_rel025)" by emptywhale for example … what a belter of an album this is. I've had it for a wee while and it astounds me every time I listen to it.
"Some Hollow Lullabies (waag_rel025)" has an otherworldly quality about it that just fascinates me … I hear something new with each subsequent listen.
From the opening refrain of "The Boy Who Could Hear Colours" through to the closing of "Seeking Reason" I am captivated by the care and attention emptywhale has poured into this release. His piano playing is exemplary and his use of sound to convey an atmosphere is simply remarkable - it is dark and brooding … almost Lovecraftian in suggestion.
This release could so easily be the soundtrack to some spooking French drama like Les Revenants … this is not to decry Mogwai's stellar soundtrack but to point out that "Some Hollow Lullabies (waag_rel025)" has a similar power … an equally eerie ability to astound whilst simultaneously entertaining.
I hope you enjoy every second of this release as I have and continue to do.
As always an MP3 version is available on here for free with a lossless version available on Bandcamp for 'pay what you want'.
In addition, please note that emptywhale has ascribed this release with a Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0) license. This license lets anyone remix, tweak, and build upon "Some Hollow Lullabies (waag_rel025)" non-commercially, as long as they credit emptywhale and license their new creations under the identical terms. If you are interested in remixing "Some Hollow Lullabies (waag_rel025)" or tracks from it, please let me know … I may release it on waag!
June 22, 2013
As good as it gets...
'Beautiful' was the word that first came to mind when I first heard Some Hollow Lullabies, the third release from UK dark ambient outfit emptywhale. Subsequent listens have not changed my mind. The most integrated album to date shows this enigmatic artist at the height of his powers, defying classifications, and composing and producing a work of sublime beauty and intelligence. Meticulously crafted from start to finish it is quite simply 'as good as it gets'.
From the opening transportation of 'The Boy Who Could Hear Colours', the surprising introduction of melodic keyboard, to the closing fade and hints of where it all began we are left transfixed. Astute listeners may find it an interesting challenge to figure out these influences, but ultimately knowing this will not add to the appreciation because the emptywhale concept is precisely about the mystery. And the mystery ends up being what we (the listeners) experience as we listen...
I have said in the past that I find great humanism in the music of emptywhale. Here we have a man wandering through the British (if not world) landscape acutely aware of history and society and where the technological revolution had taken us, and the impact it has had on interpersonal communications (or lack thereof) . If there is 'darkness' in these soundscapes it is in this aspect of our lives that it is manifest...not through any contrived attempt at being different or trendy.
I must admit I have been critical of the ambient genre at times, finding the lack of individualism frustrating, but emptywhale takes it to a new level. At times orchestral, choral, hints of punk, sinister crackles, there are so many things happening here one is left in awe at the power of the meditative mix.
A track by track analysis is pointless in such a complete creation. All I can say is take 40 minutes out of your life and marvel and enjoy and wonder and appreciate that there are people in the world doing this for free...
And if you do feel compelled to part with some money emptywhale asks that you donate to cancer research...
An essential and permanent part of the collection of anyone seriously interested in contemporary music. The great Duke Ellington, once asked in interview about his composing methods, said "If it sounds good, it is good". Some Hollow Lullabies sounds very, very good...